AmeriCorps CRUSH Program at CHI
AmeriCorps Corps for Rural and Urban Success and Health (CRUSH)
AmeriCorps program supports 40 Corps members to create a rural and urban volunteer health corps devoted to advancing the health and success of rural and urban Ohio communities for the past five years. This corps utilizes a Health Professions Affinity Community (HPAC) service learning curriculum that helps youth identify pressing health concerns in their community through self-directed learning, seek and obtain resources from within their community, and combine resources and learning to formulate health improvement programs while advancing themselves toward health care careers. The HPAC service-learning model ultimately empowers youth to become engaged in the health care of their community by partnering with the community. The model also casts youth in a role positioned spanning school and work as community health entrepreneurs and prepares them for the academic and career skills leading to 21st century health careers. The project has specifically focused on the area of middle to high school academic engagement and career development with the aim of enhancing academic achievement, school attendance, and increasing the fraction of high school graduates and college-going students pursuing training in health care fields.
The AmeriCorps members establish and deliver the HPAC program in rural and urban Ohio school districts with a particular focus on communities with demonstrated academic achievement, employment, and health care access challenges. AmeriCorps members work to co-create a self-generating pool of community-based volunteers and a system for asset-based community building and self-organizing to sustain the program after the three-year funding period has ended. The expected outcome for AmeriCorps members is improved opportunities for career success (with an emphasis on reaching students who have not traditionally had the tools to access such opportunities), especially in the health care industry, which will occur partly through enhanced college and career readiness, leadership skills, community engagement, and self-efficacy. On a more general level, AmeriCorps members are expected to become more attuned to the opportunities and challenges of rural communities and learn effective strategies to employ community resources to confront and solve pressing community challenges and themselves become a part of the healthcare workforce once they have completed their tenure in the program.